Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Temple Gunman Called a Neo-Nazi Police Exploring Possible Motives of Army Veteran

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Temple Gunman Called a Neo-Nazi Police Exploring Possible Motives of Army Veteran

Article excerpt

OAK CREEK, Wis. -- Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade M. Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was a 40-year-old Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago.

A day after he killed six worshippers at the suburban Milwaukee temple, fragments of Page's life emerged in public records and interviews. But his motive was still largely a mystery.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards suggested Monday that investigators might never know for certain why the attacker targeted a temple full of strangers.

Page, who was shot to death by police, joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. He was described Monday by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "frustrated neo-Nazi" who had long been active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music.

Page wrote frequently on white supremacist websites, describing himself as a member of the "Hammerskins Nation," a skinhead group rooted in Texas that has offshoots in Australia and Canada, according to the SITE Monitoring Service, a Maryland private intelligence firm that searches the Internet for terrorist and other extremist activity.

In online forums, Page promoted his music while interacting with other skinheads. He posted 250 messages on one site between March 2010 and the middle of this year and appeared eager to recruit others.

In an April message, Page said: "Passive submission is indirect support to the oppressors. Stand up for yourself and live the 14 words," a reference to a common white supremacists mantra: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the law center, a nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., said Page played in groups whose often sinister-sounding names seemed to "reflect what he went out and actually did." The music spoke of genocide against Jews and other minorities.

In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005. The band's MySpace page listed the group as based in Nashville, N.C.

Page joined the military in Milwaukee in 1992 and was a repairman for the Hawk missile system before switching jobs to become one of the Army's psychological operations specialists assigned to a battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C. As a "psy-ops" specialist, he would have trained to host public meetings between U.S. forces and indigenous populations, to use leaflet campaigns in a conflict zone or loudspeakers to communicate with enemy soldiers. He never deployed overseas in that role, Army spokesman George Wright said. …

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